CHICAGO – The St. Thomas men's soccer team fell to Luther College 1-0 in the round of 16 in the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Stagg Field on the University of Chicago campus.
"It was a battle to the last whistle," said senior Will Kidd. "We had our chances, but just couldn't put it away in the end."
The trip to the round of 16 is the third consecutive for the Tommies, each of which have taken place in the Windy City. The Tommies previously advanced out of the sectional in 2016 at the University of Chicago before falling to host North Park University last season.
In Saturday's contest, Luther maintained much of the possession to open the game. But the Tommies countered with dynamic scoring chances as senior goalkeeper Aidan Hogan and the defense stood tall. St. Thomas could not find the back of the net in the opening 45 minutes, however, as the two teams went to the break in a scoreless tie.
The Norse held a 6-3 shot advantage in the opening half, and Hogan registered four saves. In the second half, Luther took a 1-0 lead less than 10 minutes after resuming play.
Brunno Colon started the play, putting a shot on net. Hogan dove to his right and could not quite coral it. Ben Keller found himself at the doorstep and put the rebound away to give the Norse a 1-0 lead with 35:29 remaining.
The Tommies proceeded to put pressure on the Norse. The Purple took control of possession and pressed forward, tallying three shots on goal over the final 30 minutes and holding Luther shotless.
"I'm proud of our effort," stated Head Coach Jon Lowery following the game. "I'm proud of the steps we took this year and advancing to this point. Obviously, I'm disappointed with tonight's outcome, but we represented St. Thomas very well, and for that we are proud."
The final numbers showed Luther with an 11-6 shot advantage, including a 7-4 edge on goal. The Tommies held the slight upper hand in corner kicks by the count of 2-1.
St. Thomas finishes the season 16-4-2 overall.